Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Should A Christian Go To A Secular Therapist?

Photo credit: [ henning ] / Foter / CC BY-NC
There is a raging debate in the evangelical world pertaining to Christians and secular therapists. This guest article looks at the issue.

There is a raging debate in the evangelical world pertaining to Christians and secular therapists. Many Christians consider it taboo to see a psychologist, while others are more open to trying out new forms of medicine that claim to cure depression and anxiety. Certainly there are valid points on both sides of the argument, and it is hard to say that there is a clear cut answer, but there are a few things you should consider before leaning either way.

Stay Balanced

One thing that Christians need to realize is that atheists, liberals, philosophers, and psychologist alike are not dumb. They are still living, breathing, created in the image of God, humans that have intelligent minds. You may not agree one bit with modern psychology but that doesn’t necessarily make it complete bunk. It would serve the evangelical world well if they would read psychology books, not even for the sake of practicing, but simply to know what the books are saying. On the other hand it is important to realize that if you are going to take the path of a secular therapist that you are dealing with a metaphysical problem. What does that mean? It means that you cannot expect modern medicine to cure a sick heart. If you are broken because of dissension, or dishonesty, or lust, you cannot expect pills to cure you of the grief. You must realize that God has reserved the right of the Christian’s growth for Himself. Why? If we were responsible for our own growth then we would quickly lose heart, and would have given up miles ago. Also, if God is the one who is growing you then you have no room to claim anything for yourself you must admit that any type of sanctification you have is from Him.

Faith over Therapy

So what should you do if you are seeking some type of counseling but are foggy on which route to take? Proceed with caution. Allow your conscience to be your guide. If God does not want you at a secular therapist then that will be communicated through you. However, if you see value in psychology and your conscience does not bother you then try it. Secondly, have faith. You must realize that neither secular therapist nor Christian counselor can aid in sanctification. Not to undermine the importance of a brother who listens or a Christian counselor, because those are invaluable treasures. But as stated above God alone has reserved the right for sanctification, trust your Father; he will grow you as He sees fit. You have only to walk faithfully, and He will see to the rest. That is a hard principle to swallow because we are constantly going back to our own strength to try and change ourselves. But we must take God on his word that he will change us, He has promised to, furthermore He has promised to do it on his schedule not ours. Perhaps, this means that it isn’t so much a question of secular or sacred, but an issue of the believer’s faith.

As a fellow believer holding a B.A. in Communications, Ben is thrilled about the opportunity to support organizations like Heart Felt Christian Counseling through his writing.

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